Michael Shane Winters is facing the death penalty for the murders of Louise and Christina Bishop

One of two men accused of killing an elderly woman and her daughter from Bentonville, Arkansas in June of 2009 will spend the rest of his life behind bars for his part in the women's murders.
 
Testimony in the capital murder trial of Michael Shane Winters, 30, began November 11th in Benton County.

George Skupien, the godson and nephew of  81 year-old Louise Bishop, reported his aunt and cousin, 40 year-old Christina Bishop-Johansen,  missing on June 21st after going to the home after not hearing from the women for a few days.  When he entered the unlocked door he found part of a pair of dentures, blood spatters, reading glasses and broken, bloody furniture in the foyer.
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Louise and Christina Bishop (undated family photo)

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A media blitz to find the women, who were last seen exiting a Sam's store in Bentonville on June 18th, yielded few clues to the women's whereabouts.  However, in July the women's truck was found in the parking lot of Club Hots (a strip club) in Jane, MO with the message, "Free car just tow away," scrawled across the windshield.


The owner of the company that towed the truck from the strip club made contact Skupien who told him not to touch it any further and contacted authorities.
Their bodies were found Feb. 1, 2010, in a shallow grave at 15226 Sugar Creek Road, between Garfield and Avoca - on property adjacent to that owned by Johansen's father,  according to court documents.
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In the 20-page probable cause affidavit, Benton County prosecutor Van Stone says that Winters' girlfriend -- Susan Martin, who is also Johansen's half sister -- came to the Bentonville Police Department on February 14th to talk about what happened to the women "because it had been bothering her to hold it in and she did not think she could take it anymore."

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According to court documents, Martin lived with both Johansen and Winters and told police the two had gone to the Bishop's house to rob Louise Bishop, who was known to keep a large amount of money in the house.
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Nicholas Johansen is accused of killing his mother and grandmother
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Martin told investigators that the day after the Bishop's were last seen "Michael was able to pay
their cell phone bill of nearly $400.00 and had $100.00 left over. Susan asked him where
he got the money and he told her not to worry about it."

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Court documents say Winters told his girlfriend what happened the night the women went missing.
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"Reportedly, Michael and Nick left the residence at 15226 Sugar Creek Road on June 18,2009,
sometime between 2100 to 2200 hours. They both rode Nick's motorcycle to Louise's
residence.
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Upon arrival, Nick called Christina Bishop and told her he needed to talk to her. She ultimately met him outside the residence. As they were talking, Nick began acting like he was going to give Christina a back rub. However, at some point, Nick started to strangle Christina.
As Nick was strangling Christina, Louise opened the door and must have seen what was occurring. Reportedly, Louise started to go back in the house so Nick went after Louise and Michael continued to strangle Christina. According to Susan, Nick entered the residence and started to strangle Louise. However, Nick was unable to actually kill her; therefore, Michael entered the residence and strangled Louise.
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Michael and Nick then placed both bodies in the bed of the truck Nick rode in the back to hold the bodies in place while Michael drove back to their residence on Sugar Creek Road. They drug the bodies up the hill in the woods on the property owned by the Johansen's. They then stashed the truck on an ATV trail just west of the residence. It stayed there for a few days and was then driven to Club Hots, an adult entertainment establishment in McDonald County, Missouri, and left in their parking lot.

Michael told Susan they were able to locate $500.00, which they stole from the residence. Susan said this was the money used to pay her phone bill the following day, They were also able to find some jewelry, which included the watch and matching bracelet Susan later found amongst her property. Michael told her that he got the watch from the Bishop's house and gave it to her."

Skupien has filed a lawsuit against the company that canceled an alarm allegedly triggered by Louise Bishop the night she was murdered. 

The suit alleges at 11:54 p.m. the security alarm on Louise Bishop’s front door was triggered. A Guard Tronic employee initiated three telephone calls to the home,  all of which resulted with in busy signals, according to the complaint.

Guard Tronic called the Bentonville Police Department three minutes after the alarm was triggered. However, while dispatching police, a cancel signal came from Louise Bishop’s security system, according to the complaint. A Guard Tronic employee told the dispatcher to cancel the call to the residence, according to the suit.

The complaint claims it would have normally taken authorities two to three minutes to have arrived at the residence after being dispatched, and that the attack could have been interrupted, or the perpetrators captured at the residence.
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Winters, who was facing the death penalty, was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to two consecutive (one to be served after the other) sentences of life without parole. He was also found guilty of two counts of agrravated robbery and was sentenced to two life sentences on those counts.
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Jury selection for Nick Johansen's trial is is scheduled to begin on January 18, 2012, in Benton County, Arkansas.

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